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Queenstown Airport gearing up for busiest winter season ever

April 8, 2014 Airport No Comments Email Email

Air access to New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region will be even more attractive for Kiwis and international holidaymakers this winter thanks to a big boost in flight capacity and connectivity from all airlines servicing Queenstown Airport.

Queenstown Airport Corporation CEO Scott Paterson says the outlook for the winter season is looking “extremely positive” with trans-Tasman flights up 25 per cent on last winter.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the strong support shown by Qantas, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Jetstar.  We have a record 50 direct trans-Tasman flights on average arriving each week this winter – up 10 a week on last year – as well as larger aircraft with more seat capacity being used.” Tower planes mountains

The winter flight schedule officially kicks off on 15 June just before Queenstown’s 40th annual Winter Festival, a much loved 10-day event that brings thousands of locals and visitors to the town’s streets and ski slopes to celebrate the start of the winter season.

Winter flight schedule increases include:

  • Qantas stepping up its 3 Sydney-Queenstown flights per week to daily flights between 4 July and 30 October. It will also operate a weekly Brisbane-Queenstown service on Saturdays from 28 June to 27 September.
  • Alliance partners Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia adding 40,000 seats to and from Queenstown between July and September. Trans-Tasman seat capacity to Queenstown will increase more than 12% with up to 5 additional alliance services per week between Queenstown and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Air New Zealand increasing domestic capacity by 11% from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch by upgauging to larger A320 aircraft on a number of existing services.
  • Jetstar adding 15,000 seats between Australia and Queenstown in July and August.  Melbourne-Queenstown services will rise from 4 times a week to daily and Sydney-Queenstown will move from 3 to 5 flights per week. 

To meet the growth, Queenstown Airport will erect a ‘pop-up’ structure for the busiest eight-week July-August period to provide extra capacity for arriving international passengers and their luggage.

QAC CEO Scott Paterson says “pop-ups” are commonly used at airports around the world to provide extra temporary capacity when needed.

“Our peak for international arrivals is between noon and 3pm each day so we need to be able to process these passengers as swiftly as possible to avoid delays.  The tent structure will house a second international baggage reclaim belt and help alleviate pressure on infrastructure during these peaks.  We’re planning to have some fun with the theming of it as well to create a great first impression and make it a talking point for arriving international visitors.”

The pop-up is expected to cost around $450,000 and will provide an interim solution before QAC begins the next stage of the airport terminal expansion in September.

Other new airport facilities in place for winter include a mini terminal for private jet passengers by the end of April, a new airline lounge by July, and expanded food and beverage offerings – Patagonia café opened in March and Airspresso café bar will open in July.

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